Awhile vs. A while

I’ve got a quick grammar tip for you today!

Many people don’t think about the fact that there’s a difference between a while as two words and awhile as one. Each has a different usage and meaning that’s actually not too difficult to remember.

Here’s an example:

I’m going to be at the store for a while.

I’m going to be at the store awhile.

Did you catch the difference? They are almost exactly the same except for one thing: the word for. This is how I like to think about it:

awhile = preposition + a while

So, in the example, the second sentence is: I’m going to the store awhile = FOR a while.

If it doesn’t make sense to use a preposition such as on, for, or in, use two words:

I think this is going to take a while/awhile. Which is correct?

You wouldn’t say: I think this is going to take for a while, right? So in this case a while as two words is correct. I think this is going to take a while.

See? Wasn’t that simple?

For more on this topic, visit Grammar Girl.

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One thought on “Awhile vs. A while

  1. Pingback: Preposition |

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